NEW ORLEANS – On July 19, New Orleans Restoration Properties (NORP) has opened 32 affordable rental apartments that will span one block on Earhart Boulevard in Hollygrove. Dubbed Grove Place, the project is expected to cost around $14.3 million and be completed by summer 2023. The site, vacant since Hurricane Katrina, retains several historic residential structures that will be renovated.
NORP leaders were joined at the groundbreaking event by New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, Councilman Joseph Giarrusso, representatives from the Hollygrove Neighborhood Association and other partners and supporters.
With funding from Enterprise Community Partners, the City of New Orleans and the Louisiana Housing Corporation, NORP plans to “create and preserve much-needed affordable housing in Hollygrove and provide investment to a community that has always received minimal funding for new developments,” according to a spokesperson.
“This project allows us to give back to a region that has given us so much,” Paul Irons, company director, said in a press release. His family has lived in the neighborhood for generations. “My sister and partner, Marseah, and I have fond memories of growing up here and are determined to help Hollygrove grow and revitalise.”
The new Grove Place community will include 16 one-bedroom apartments, 11 two-bedroom apartments and five three-bedroom apartments. Housing will be reserved for households earning between 20% and 60% of the median income of the area. Three additional one-bedroom apartments and eight additional two-bedroom apartments will provide supportive housing services for adults with disabilities through the HUD 811 program. LHC will provide resident services for these apartments.
Grove Place will be within walking distance of a pharmacy and grocery store and across from a bus stop. Its facilities will include a community garden, a community hall and a picnic area. HCI Architecture is the architect and CDW Services, a minority-run company, is the builder. HRI Management will serve as the property management company.
Enterprise said it supports NORP’s work to preserve the affordability of this historic neighborhood through a national initiative called Fair way forward, a five-year, $3.5 billion plan to “invest in developers of color and help dismantle the legacy of racism in housing.” The National Affordable Housing nonprofit is providing a $6.7 million Low-Income Housing Tax Credit investment to help fund homeownership and making available up to 750,000 dollars in relief loans to strengthen NORP’s balance sheet and help it qualify for financing.
Relief funding comes from Enterprise Standby guarantee facility. A NORP spokesperson said this will allow the company to complete its first major development as lead developer. Additional funding for the project comes from Stonehenge Capital, JPMorgan Chase and Finance New Orleans.
“Paul Irons and Marseah Delatte run a family business that has been in New Orleans real estate for generations – but traditional underwriting standards often don’t recognize the expertise and experience they bring to the table” , said Michelle Whetten, vice president and Gulf Coast. market leader at Enterprise. “Through Equitable Path Forward, we can lift neighborhood anchors like NORP and create affordable homes that directly address community needs at the same time.”
“The City of New Orleans is committed to providing more affordable, quality housing in the city, which is why we’ve invested $4.8 million to make this latest deal a reality,” Cantrell said. “I want to thank all of our partners for making this possible and for not wavering in their commitment to this community. I know the Irons family is a legacy in this neighborhood, and I recognize the strength and power of the heritage here.
New Orleans Restoration Properties is a fourth-generation, full-service real estate development company specializing in the restoration of historic properties. Enterprise is a national non-profit organization that “supports community development organizations on the ground.” The Louisiana Housing Corporation strives to “significantly increase the availability of affordable, accessible, and safe residential housing in Louisiana.”